It’s the last holiday weekend of the summer as I write this, on a perfect afternoon, filled with no prior engagements, or camp pickups/drop-offs. Excellent conditions for blogging.

As I consider how to characterize the “state of the state,” as it relates to the technology partner “ecosystem” of the broadcast/media segment, I keep going back to something I heard Michael Phelps, former Olympic Gold Medalist, say at Cisco’s annual gathering of global sales staffers.

He was talking about what it takes to be at the front of the pack. The word he used was “deposits.” All the hours in the pool and the weight room, seven days a week, for five years — all deposits toward that time when he needed to make the really big withdrawal. In his case, the Olympic Games, and his 28 medals.

Here on the brink of the 2017 IBC show, the technology trend that is the progression of broadcast/media creators along the continuum to all-IP (Internet Protocol) operation is well past the “incubation” stage, and somewhere between a walk and a jog.

Which is saying something, because it wasn’t all that long ago that a common refrain was more “it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but of ‘when.’”  Well. You know you’re beyond the “if” of something happening, and deep into “when,” when you look back at your to-do list for the last year and count up numerous new software partners, and several dozen very active projects, in the pipeline. It’s the work of building out channel partnerships, and collaboratively extending the reach of what’s possible with IP.   You can even hear it in our partners words here:

Here’s a few actual use case examples:

  • The age of the “media factory” is upon us. More and more content networks are up to their elbows in “media factory” details, to centralize the voluminous amount of content coming in, and going out. The work of it — the deposits — involves spinning up curation functions that are highly orchestrated and automated. In real-time, With an end goal of getting it out quickly and easily — to an OTT app, web stream, or (pick your flavor of) IP-based methods.
  • The early results are provocative enough to attract high profile, high commitment deployments. There comes a place in every major technology transition when the benefits start to stack up faster and higher than the alternative, even if it’s the old tried-and-true. As broadcast and media companies progress along the continuum to IP, some are appreciating the early fruits enough to go big. Like the BBC Wales, which is enthusiastically public about its intent to be the world’s first completely IP facility — no SDI, no hybrid. It’s hugely gratifying to be part of that endeavor — which took an ecosystem approach to execute, by the way, and thanks again, Grass Valley!
  • New requirements are highly focused on “business as usual” necessities, like training programs and overall “operationalizing.” Not that any customer ever begged for another PowerPoint presentation (understatement), but, today’s requests are about things that matter to the day-to-day. That’s why we’re introducing a Cisco Learning series, with a curriculum co-developed with our broadcast-side partners. It’s specifically focused on the 100,000+ broadcast engineers seeking more specialized, IP-centric experience. (Fact: Estimates range, but the average IP engineer earns as much as 30% more than the average broadcast engineer. Training matters. Ours come with actual teachers and classrooms!)

And that’s before we even get to the new partners we’re bringing into our Media Blueprint — starting with our excellent colleagues over at EVS, longtime partners in the Sports & Connected Venue space. We’re rapidly expanding our relationship with EVS by way of media and entertainment projects, and as evidenced by our collaborative execution of this year’s Cisco Live event. The work of it was providing all of the IP-based broadcasting, in and out of the event, to around 25,000 attendees.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t shine some light on Snell Advanced Media (S-A-M), Cloudian, Nevion and all in our growing roster of systems integration partners — and, yes, I’m talking about you, Videlio, WWT, and Diversified Systems. Thanks to all of you for placing “deposits” with Cisco, to partner up and advance this crazy transition.

The work of getting to this point is the work all of us do, in one form or another: Stay on it. Figure out which partners to recruit, how to align the businesses and stakeholders, how to get support internally — for marketing, for enablement, for funding. (And that’s just on my “Cisco side.”) With partners, it’s the work of building a comprehensive business strategy, both technically and commercially. Listening to their goals. Bringing our deep roots in IP to a market segment perfectly poised to put it to work.

It’s not necessarily a sprint to the finish line to pick up a gold medal, but it’s the same idea — we, and our partners, and all of us traipsing around IBC this week, we’ve spent the last year making deposits. We’re all investing in those moments when it’s time to pour it on; to win. Like now, for instance. Here’s to a vibrant partner ecosystem!


Bryan Bedford

Global Industry Director: Retail, Hospitality, Sports, Media and Entertainment

Global Partner Organization